Dateline: Week Of December 1, 2009 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
President Barack Obama is sending 30,000 extra U.S. troops to Afghanistan on an accelerated timetable that will have the first Marines there as early as Christmas and all forces in place by summer. But he'll also declare Tuesday night that troops will begin leaving in less than three years. In a prime-time speech to the nation from West Point that ends a 92-day review, Obama will seek to sell his much bigger, costlier war plan to a skeptical public in part by twinning it with some specifics about an exit strategy, said two senior administration officials.
A 38-year-old former Miss Argentina has died from complications after undergoing cosmetic surgery on her buttocks. Solange Magnano, a mother of twins who won the crown in 1994, died of a pulmonary embolism Sunday after three days in critical condition following a gluteoplasty in Buenos Aires. Close friend Roberto Piazza said the procedure involved injections and the liquid "went to her lungs and brain."
The number of homebuyers who signed contracts to buy previously occupied homes rose for the ninth straight month as buyers rushed to take advantage of a tax credit for first-time owners before its original expiration at the end of November. The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday its seasonally adjusted index of sales agreements rose 3.7 percent from September to October to 114.1. It was the highest reading since March 2006 and almost 32 percent above a year ago, the largest annual increase ever for the index.
Iran freed five British sailors detained last week when their racing yacht drifted accidentally into Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf. Britain said it was delighted with Wednesday's release and praised Tehran's handling of the incident.The 60-foot yacht was in the Persian Gulf on its way from Bahrain to Dubai last Wednesday for the start of its first offshore race when it ran into a problem with its propeller, said Andrew Pindar, whose Team Pindar owns the yacht. It drifted into Iranian waters and was seized by the elite Revolutionary Guard's navy.
Comcast Corp. announces plans to buy a majority stake in NBC Universal for $13.75 billion, giving the nation's largest cable TV operator control of the Peacock network, an array of cable channels and a major movie studio. Although the deal could mean that movies could reach cable more quickly after showing in theaters, and that TV shows could appear faster on cell phones and other devices, it was already raising concerns that Comcast would wield too much power over entertainment.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews apologizes for saying that President Barack Obama had traveled to an "enemy camp" at West Point to address the nation on the war in Afghanistan. The pundit had made the remark during on-air analysis of Obama's speech, noting that he saw skepticism and little enthusiasm in the faces of cadets and officers at the U.S. military academy, a place where former President Bush made a hawkish speech in 2002 before the Iraq War started.
The White House shouldered some of the blame for an embarrassing breach of security that permitted an uninvited couple to gate-crash President Barack Obama’s debut state dinner last week. The couple, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, say they did not crash the party, insisting in a television appearance that they had been invited guests -- a claim the White House has flatly denied.
Even as he trumpeted a slowdown in the nation's job losses , President Barack Obama put finishing touches on a proposal he'll unveil next week to "jump-start" business hiring across America. In a speech from Washington on Tuesday, Obama plans to send Congress an initial list of ideas he supports for a new jobs bill. Among the ideas he will likely endorse is the expansion of a program that gives people cash incentives to fix up their homes with energy-saving materials, two senior administration officials said.
The largest and most important U.N. climate change conference in history opens, with organizers warning diplomats from 192 nations that this could be the last best chance for a deal to protect the world from calamitous global warming. The two-week conference, the climax of two years of contentious negotiations, convened in an upbeat mood after a series of promises by rich and emerging economies to curb their greenhouse gases. Still, major issues have yet to be resolved.
Fascinating Facts – December 1, 2009
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has opened an investigation into the popular Zhu Zhu Pets toy because it may contain higher-than-allowed levels of antimony, a heavy metal which if ingested can make children sick. "We will complete our review swiftly," the agency said in a statement. "With new safety measures in place for children and toy recalls down from previous years, consumers can have greater confidence when shopping this year and in the CPSC."
Sports News – December 1, 2009 -
Tiger Woods will be cited for careless driving in a car crash outside his Orlando-area mansion, but will not face criminal charges, the Florida Highway Patrol said Tuesday. Woods faces a $164 fine and four points against his driver's license, not close to enough to have it suspended. The citation closes the investigation of last week's crash. The patrol "is not pursuing criminal charges in this matter nor is there any testimony or other evidence to support any additional charges of any kind other than the charge of careless driving," Sgt. Kim Montes said.
According to an accident report, Woods crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant and a tree at 2:25 a.m. Friday. The airbags did not deploy and Woods' wife told Windermere police she used a golf club to smash the back windows to help him out.
Yankee’s Derek Jeter gets Sports Illustrated’s “Sportsman of the Year.” "It's unbelievable. It was completely unexpected. It came out of the blue," Jeter told The Associated Press during a break in the photo shoot. "When I heard it, what can you say? It's one of the greatest honors you can achieve in sports."
Down by 10 points in the fourth quarter – the amazing New Orleans Saints defeat the Washington Redskins 33-30! Still undeafted!
Technology News – December 1, 2009
Youtube offers a “lighter” version of their site called feather. It’ll make it faster to download videos – especially on slow computers.
AOL is shaking loose from Time Warner Inc. and heading into the next decade the way it began this one, as an independent company. Unlike the 1990s, though, when AOL got rich selling dial-up Internet access, it starts the 2010s as an underdog, trying to beef up its Web sites and grab more advertising revenue. Despite a few bright spots in its portfolio of sites, such as tech blog Engadget, AOL has a long way to go until Web advertising can replace the revenue it still gets from selling dial-up Internet access. One especially popular property, entertainment site TMZ, is a joint venture with a Time Warner unit that will keep TMZ and its revenue after AOL splits off.
Entertainment News – December 1, 2009
It’s announced that Charles Gibson’ last day behind the desk of ABC's World News Tonight will be Dec. 18.
“Family Ties” mother Meredith Baxter says she’s a lesbian. Baxter, who played the devoted hippie mom constantly butting heads with her conservative kids on “Family Ties,” is making a public admission: “I am a lesbian and it was a later-in-life recognition,” she told Matt Lauer on TODAY. “Some people would say, well, you’re living a lie and, you know, the truth is – not at all. This has only been for the past seven years.”
Singer Michael Buble helped light New York's Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, ushering in the holiday season and crowds of tourists.
Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones was released on bail after being arrested for possible assault in southern England, police and his spokesman said. Police in Surrey said a 62-year-old man from the town of Esher was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of assault in connection with a domestic incident on Claygate High Street, south of London.
Just back from her "Circus" tour's stint in Australia, Britney Spears celebrated her 28th birthday in L.A. indulging in one of her favorite pastimes: shopping!
Not out of the woods - Golfer Tiger Woods, engulfed in speculation over his private life after a car accident in the middle of the night, apologized for "transgressions" in a statement that apparently addressed allegations he had extra-marital relationships. Woods, the world's No. 1 golfer and a married father of two young children, said in a statement on his website that "I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves." He did not directly address the allegations of infidelity.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie attended the premiere of "Invictus" and the fashion world stood up and took notice of their 8-year-old son, Maddox.While two of the world's most recognized actors wore basic black, the eldest of the couple's six children made a splash on the red carpet, donning a fedora and a stylish scarf as he posed for pictures and spoke to family friend and film legend Clint Eastwood, who directed the film about the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. You know, just another typical night for your average third-grader.
TV listings/TV Guide – December 1, 2009
Hip Thursday night TV (TVS)
At 8, ABC has a new FlashForward, followed by two new episodes of Private Practice.
CBS has a new Survivor at 8.
NBC has new episodes of Community, Parks and Recreation, The Office, 30 Rock, and The Jay Leno Show.
FOX has a new Bones, then a new Fringe.
TCM has the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol at 8.
At 8:30, Cartoon Network has a new Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, followed by the season finale of Total Drama Action.
At 9, Comedy Central has a new Jeff Dunham Show.
TLC has a new American Chopper at 9.
Spike has a new TNA Wrestling at 9.
Also at 9: Current has a new SuperNews, then new episodes of InfoMania, SuperNews, and The Rotten Tomatoes Show.
At 10, FX has a new It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, followed by a new episode of The League.
MTV has the season premiere of Jersey Shore at 10.
Top Pop Hits – December 1, 2009 –
Empire of the State – Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
Watcha Say – Jason DeRulo
Fireflies – Owl City
Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
Replay – Iyaz
Tik Tok – K$ha
Paparazzi – Lady Gaga
3 – Britney Spears
Sexy Chick – David Guetta fea. Akon
Sweet Dreams - Beyonce
Down – Jay Sean fea. Lil’ Wayne
Meet Me Half Way – Black Eyed Peas
Party in the U.S.A. – Miley Cyrus
You Belong With Me – Taylor Swift
Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
Already Gone – Kelly Clarkson
Forever – Drake fea. Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne, Eminem
Russian Roulette – Rihanna
I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas
Run This Town – Jay-Z, Kanye West, Rihanna
I Can Transform Ya – Chris Brown, Lil’ Wayne, Swizz Beatz
Only by the Night – Kings of Leon
One Time – Jason Bieber
Cowboy Casanova – Carrie Underwood
Fifteen – Taylor Swift
Half of My Heart – John Mayer fea. Taylor Swift
Evacuate the Dance Floor – Cascada
Top Movies – December 1, 2009 –
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
The Blind Side
Disney’s A Christmas Carol
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Men Who Stare At Goats.